The Hazards of a
Photo Society Photographer...

This page is dedicated to Wes Skiles who died doing the work he loved. Sadie Quarrier, senior photo editor, National Geographic Magazine says:   “I was lucky enough to work with Wes as his photo editor on (his) “Bahamas Blue Holes” story for NGM. He was deeply passionate about diving, exploring, photographing and protecting the waterways… Wes was big-hearted and humble yet extremely driven. He was doggedly determined to produce the best possible article on these caves he called home. He dared to dream big, and no budget or contract would stop him from going after a shot he felt we needed, even if it was on his own dime…”

There have been other deaths over the years and many serious injuries. The posts below are recent survey responses from 45 photographers about some of the hazards encountered while on assignment for the National Geographic Society. The numbers represent individual incidents.

Reality Check

  • Meningitis

    1
  • Flesh Eating Parasites

    1
  • Blinded by Wasps

    1
  • Hypothermia

    9
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

    1
  • Broken Bones

    4
  • Penis Fish

    1
  • Severe Diarrhea

    90
  • Paraglider Crash

    21
  • Stabbed

    1
  • Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

    1
  • Broken Nose

    2
  • Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

    1
  • Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

    2
  • Chased by Crocodile

    1
  • Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

    1
  • Chased by Wild Elephant

    3
  • Groped

    2
  • Wound Infection

    30
  • Broken Ribs

    6
  • Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

    29
  • Tear Gassed

    4
  • Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

    2
  • Threatened / Detained / Abducted

    21
  • Robbed

    5
  • Dengue Fever

    1
  • Malaria

    5
  • Extreme Toxins

    3
  • Plane or Helicopter Crash

    5
  • Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

    1
  • Acid Dripping Caves

    1
  • Lost on Arctic Ice

    1
  • Punched in Face

    1
  • Broken Tail Bone

    1
  • Beaten

    3
  • Rope Burn

    10
  • Random Assault

    6
  • Car or Bus Crash

    7
  • Giardia

    8
  • Dislocations

    7
  • Lost in Andes

    2
  • Held at Gunpoint

    2
  • Groped

    9
  • Various Parasites

    16
  • Assorted Animal Attacks

    8
  • Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

    1
  • Lost at Sea

    1
  • Held at Knifepoint

    1
  • Arrest or House Arrest

    33
  • Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

    3
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

    1
  • Stoned by Religious Group

    2
  • Falls

    12
  • Fall Into Crevasse

    2
  • Burns

    4
  • Amoebic Dysentery

    20
  • Robbed

    13
  • Diagnosed PTSD

    1
  • Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

    1
  • Viper in Camera Bag

    1
  • Buried in Avalanche

    2
  • Run Checkpoint

    13
  • Hunted with Bows and Arrows

    1
  • Teargassed

    2
  • Spitting Cobra Attacks

    1
  • Imprisoned

    3
  • Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

    1
  • Severe Dehydration

    19
  • Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

    1
  • Severe Insect Problems

    12
  • Scaffolding Collapse

    1
  • Temporary Blindness

    2
  • Venomous Bites

    9
  • Strongyloide Invasion

    1
  • Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

    1